Coordination: C. Lang-Auinger

hon.: E. Trinkl

CVA in general

The Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum (CVA) is an international research project for the research and publication of ancient ceramics. It is the oldest project of the Union Académique Internationale (UAI) and was initiated by the French archaeologist Edmond Pottier who proposed to publish the ancient ceramics in a collective corpus in 1919.

Originally with six partners, the venture has grown to 24 members. The publication of the volumes lies in the responsibility of each member country.

The CVA is under the patronage of the Union Académique Internationale in Brussels, however the chairmanship is traditionally held by France; currently Juliette De La Genière is the president. The scientific work is evaluated every four years by the UAI. The languages of the publications are English, French, Italian and German. So far, about 350 volumes have been published. 


The goal of the CVA-project is to present ancient pottery in standardized publications which are a solid basis for further research.

Prerequisite for this is a professional presentation of the pottery.

CVA Austria

Austria joined the CVA-project in 1935, for political reasons it belonged to Germany from 1938-1945. Therefore, the volume of the collection of the University of Vienna is called Deutschland 5. Since 1949 Austria has again been an independent member. The CVA was established as an own commission and was henceforth administrated by the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 1994 it became part of the ‘Forschungsstelle Archäologie’, which was transformed into the Institute for the Study of Ancient Culture in 2000.

In 2005 the Austrian CVA-work group was founded, which functions as a platform for the scientific exchange on a national and an international level. A first fundamental measure was the declaration of common guidelines for the publications. Guests are invited to the annual meetings and public lectures take place.

Within the current project "Cypriote Iron Age from Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien" the scanning of 145 objects becomes possible in cooperation with the Computer Vision Club and the financial support of the department for Culture and History in Vienna and the Friends of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.

Following collections are currently being worked on

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Attic-geometric, Attic black-figure pottery (S. Karl)
Iron Age Italic, Sardinian (E. Pochmarski)
Cyprian pottery (C. Lang-Auinger)
Attic black-figure pottery Hydra (E. Trinkl, proposal in preparation)

Institute for Archaeology, University Innsbruck and
Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum 
Geometric, Corinthian, Attic black-figure pottery, Varia (V. Gertl), FWF P 23041-G19
Attic red-figure pottery (G. Nachbaur)
Mycenaean (H. Ehlotzky)

Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz

Collection of Greek and Italian vases (S. Karl, proposal in preparation)


The base of each CVA-volume is a documentation of the vase considering all aspects.

Condition: The technical attributes and possible antique and modern restoration measures of all objects are recorded and complete measurements are presented; in regard to the current requirements, weight and holding capacity are included as well.

The iconography of the depicted images is described in detail, as well as shown in fotos. The shape of the vessel is documented by a drawing.

If possible, an attribution to a painter or a workshop is undertaken.

The next step is a chronological placement.

In addition to conventional methods, methods of natural sciences were applied for the documentation in CVA KHM 5 in the course of interdisciplinary collaborations, which will also be used and further developed for the following volumes.

For the contact-free documentation of the objects a 3D-laser resp. a 3D-light stripe-scanner was applied. The digital 3D models reproduce the actual condition of each object and its figurative and ornamental decoration. This method on the one hand enables a realistic and objective depiction of sections and a contact-free calculation of the holding capacity, on the other hand the various resulting possibilities exceed the requirements for the current CVA-volumes.

In cooperation with the Conservation Science Department of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien we started X-ray fluorescence analyses (RFA) on selected objects. The aim of the project is to anlyse the pigments in use.

In addition to the CVA volumes Österreich the Institute edits the Beiheft. All scientific results and pilot surveys from the area of vase research will be published in different subject areas. Already published are Beiheft 1: “Interdisziplinäre Dokumentations- und Visualisierungsmethoden“ and Beiheft 2 “Pflanzen und Tiere auf griechsichen Vasen” of the congress held in Graz in 2013.



Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Kulturabteilung der Stadt Wien

Institut für rechnergestützte Automation, Technische Universität Wien,
Gruppe für Mustererkennung und Bildverarbeitung (PRIP)


IWR - Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing

Computer Vision Lab